KWAZAKHELE Rugby Union's long- serving former administrator, Samuel Lungile Ngona, died at Livingstone Hospital last week after a long illness.
Ngona, 78, came to prominence in Port Elizabeth township rugby in the late 1950s when he played at flyhalf for the St Cyprians RFC of Korsten.
Somerset East-born Ngona's rugby career started at Newell High School in New Brighton where he completed his matric in 1955.
He was the first secretary of the Kwazakhele Rugby Union (Kwaru) in 1971.
He became president of St Cyprians in 1983 and he was later elected as secretary of Zwide Rugby Union in 1983, serving until 1989.
He was also secretary after the formation of the Eastern Province Rugby Football Union in 1992.
He received South African Rugby Football Union colours in recognition of his contribution to the sport. His friend, Feya Sobikwa, described Ngona as a pillar of Kwaru's administration.
He said he was one of the heroes of the rugby struggle during the apartheid era.
"He was a loyal, disciplined administrator and we feel deeply hurt about his death.
"Ngona was a tireless, inspirational soldier who never did anything wrong to make people around him angry."
Sobikwa said it was a great loss.
Ngona is survived by his wife, Nokwakha, and six children.
His memorial service will be held at the Holy Spirit Anglican Church in Kwazakhele today at 5.30pm.
The funeral will be on Saturday.